Republican officials in a rural Arizona county Monday are threatening to disenfranchise their own voters by delaying the certification of November’s midterm elections, breaking the law by missing the legal deadline, and prompting the Arizona secretary of state’s office to sue over the county’s failure to sign off on the results.
“By a 2-1 vote Monday morning, the Republican majority on the Cochise County Board of Supervisors pushed back certification until Friday, citing concerns about voting machines,” CNN reports.
State election officials said the concerns cited by Republicans about the vote-tallying machines are rooted in debunked conspiracy theories.
Because Monday was the deadline for all 15 Arizona counties to certify their results, Cochise’s action could put at risk the votes of some 47,000 county residents and could inject chaos into the election if those votes go uncounted.
Officials from both parties have warned that the actions by a Republican-controlled board of supervisors could end up “disenfranchising their own voters and hand Democrats even more victories in the midterms.”
Alex Gulotta, Arizona state director of All Voting is Local, said the drama over certification of the votes and the refusal by losing candidates to back down is part of an “infrastructure of election denial” that has been building since the 2020 election in Arizona.
“Those folks are going to continue to try and find fertile ground for their efforts to undermine our elections. They are not going to give up,” Gulotta said, according to CNN. “We had a whole slate of election deniers, many of whom were not elected.”
But their refusal to concede “was inevitable in Arizona, at least in this cycle, given the candidates. These aren’t good losers,” he added. “They said from the beginning that they would be bad losers.”
In the lawsuit filed by the office of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, officials said failing to certify the election results violates state law and could “potentially disenfranchise” the county’s voters.
“Absent this Court’s intervention, the Secretary will have no choice but to complete statewide canvass by December 8 without Cochise County’s votes included,” Hobbs’ lawyers said in the lawsuit.